Bartow will be getting a new, higher-end modular housing development following approval last week by the city commission.
The new development, as yet unnamed, will be built on about 178 acres of property owned by NuStar Enterprises. It will ultimately provide about 400 manufactured homes that range in price from $79,000 to $120,000.
Commissioners okayed the changes to a former planned development off State Road 60 ,west of County Road 555 — but not without some hesitation.
Despite assurances from NuStar partners, James Hutto and Josh Kroll, of Channel Cos., Mayor Scott Sjoblom questioned whether the proposed development could be sold, or allowed to deteriorate as some mobile home parks in the city have done.
Kroll assured Sjoblom and the other three commissioners at the session that his company and its partners were investing enough money in the project and would retain ownership and management of the development, even after it was completed.
Under the provisions proposed at the session last week, Kroll said Channel Cos. would retain ownership of the property, but the homes would be individually purchased by the homeowners. He explained that NuStar or Channel Cos. would be the property owner and maintain the open spaces, the club house and provide upkeep throughout the development.
He also said his firm would retain ownership of the proposed commercial properties that are included in the development. The commercial development would be located with frontage on State Road 60 and could include a wide variety of operations, including a hotel.
Part of the development okayed by the city board included raising the building height restrictions to allow for the construction of a four- or five-story hotel, or other taller building.
The development originally was okayed by the city more than a decade ago, but at that time, it included apartments as well as single-family homes.
With the changes okayed last week, the development will now consist of only single-family homes, with the exception of the string of commercial buildings facing the highway.
According to documents provided to the city by Steve Sloan, of Sloan Engineering, the amended development plan would give residents larger lots, bigger homes and more open spaces within the development.
Each of the manufactured homes would have three bedrooms and two baths, according to the developers, and the development would not be age-restricted like Floral Lakes or Oak Hammock, which are both over-55 communities that cater to retirees.
“We are looking at providing homes for young families, first-time homeowners as well as retirees,” explained Kroll.
There was no official construction start date provided at the meeting, but Sloan said that construction could launch after the new year and the park open for sales “in about a year.”